The Authoritarian Impulse


He adds:

More than any other value, the brave men and women who started the American gay rights movement in the middle part of the last century advocated freedom—the freedom of sexual expression, the freedom to hold a job, the freedom to publish, the freedom to associate (whether at a bar free from police harassment or in a political meeting free from FBI surveillance), the freedom to serve openly in the military, and the freedom to marry. Now that it has achieved those freedoms and a cultural influence once thought impossible, much of what passes for gay activism today is driven by an impulse which is the very opposite of freedom: control.

As I’ve written before, the pagans bloodily persecuted the Christians, and then the Christians came to power and bloodily persecuted the pagans. Communists began as a small, radical movement for workers’ rights, but everywhere they’ve attained power they’ve been ruthless, murderous totalitarians. Those who were formerly outlawed and subject to arrest and worse, once the tide turns and they have the power of government to force others to bend knee, are totally assured of their own moral superiority in doing so.

Along related lines, but about woke-ism generally:

4 Comments for “The Authoritarian Impulse”

  1. posted by Jorge on

    “…RuPaul—who has done more to challenge and subvert gender norms than possibly any human being alive…”

    I’d like to indulge in a brief digression. I first learned about RuPaul when in my impressionable teenage years he did a stint as a deejay for a local radio station. It’s hardly what he’s most famous for, but it’s as good as any other observation about what makes him a living legend and a positive model–the very idea of someone doing highly competent personality work in drag, on radio, is exactly the kind of rounded edge of “gender norms” RuPaul has a reputation of working on and working in. I have had minor reservations about his identity on the few times I’ve read him discussing the matter; such is the way of the world. But, when it comes to gender expression as something which deserves the full recognition and respect from peers and society, I think that more than any body of “accomplishments”, “trailblazing”, or especially “social reform”, RuPaul’s role in simply being well and competent, exactly where he is, has done much to serve the cause of making traditional society a less fearful, safer, more civil society. There will come a time when I will miss him greatly.

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  2. posted by Kosh III on

    Once again, a tiny minority of homocons who live in safe liberal enclaves is whinging about something that 99 44/100% of the populace have never heard about nor care about.

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  3. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    James Kirchick writes: “Gay people fought for a tolerant and open society.”

    In the general sense of the “right to be left alone” to live our lives according to our own lights (Griswold), perhaps, but since the Stonewall uprising changed the focus, the LGBT movement in law and politics (both inspired and shaped by the Civil Rights movement), has not sought equal treatment by sufferance but instead has sought equal treatment by right.

    Julaine Appling, the President of Wisconsin Family Action, remarked during the 2006 battle over Wisconsin’s anti-marriage amendment that “We are very tolerant of homosexuals in Wisconsin. We allow them to live anywhere they want.” Think about that statement.

    Appling’s remark encapsulates the problem with seeking tolerance from the majority — of asking the majority for tolerance, of seeking equal treatment by sufferance. Seeking tolerance, of necessity, implies that the majority has the right — a legitimate right — to grant, deny and/or forbid equality. Seeking equal treatment and equal rights under the law as a matter of right under the Constitution (as the birthright of all Americans), on the other hand, denies that the majority has the right to grant, deny and/or forbid equality.

    [Kirchick] adds: “More than any other value, the brave men and women who started the American gay rights movement in the middle part of the last century advocated freedom—the freedom of sexual expression, the freedom to hold a job, the freedom to publish, the freedom to associate (whether at a bar free from police harassment or in a political meeting free from FBI surveillance), the freedom to serve openly in the military, and the freedom to marry.”

    Freedom granted by sufferance of the majority is not freedom, because the freedom granted exists only at the sufferance of the majority and can be revoked or denied at the will of the majority. Freedom that can be denied at will is not freedom.

    The early drafts of the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform contained the statement “We support the freedom to marry” (a phrase popularized by Evan Wolfson in a vain attempt to cast the marriage equality fight in terms that conservatives might support), as did a number of state party platforms developed in tandem with the national platform. LGBT caucuses in a several states fought to change “we support the freedom to marry” language to “we support marriage equality”. In Wisconsin, the change was made by a floor amendment at the general convention after intense lobbying by 50-odd LGBT Caucus members. Jason Rae, a gay DNC member from Wisconsin, took the fight to the national platform committee, and, as a result, the 2012 national platform, as adopted, read:

    “Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples.”

    The difference between the two statements was not evident to many who were not lawyers, but the difference was that “marriage equality” implies that equal treatment under the law is a matter of right, not something that can be granted or withheld by majority opinion, while “freedom to marry” does not.

    It seems to me that conservative homosexuals have, in general, sought equality by sufferance rather than equality by right, and that is, in my view, a defining difference. The difference has played out in many ways, ranging from the different approaches taken in the two political parties (conservative homosexuals have, in general, asked for acceptance in the Republican Party, with no consequences for politicans in opposition, while gays and lesbians active in the Democratic Party have demanded that the party support equality, and fought to eliminate anti-equality Democratic politicians in party primaries), to the approach to marriage equality (conservative homosexuals, epitimized by Jon Rauch, sought compromise with anti-equality forces, while left/liberal gays and lesbians did not), to the present fight over the government-sanctioned ability of businesses to selectively discriminate against gays and lesbians.

    If equality is viewed as “equality by sufferance” rather than “equality by right”, Kirkchick’s view that LGBTs (now, in the popular imagination of conservative homosexuals, protected by the majority) as intolerant and authoritarian, ready, willing and able to put our knees on the necks of conservative Christians, is understandable. If, on the other hand, equality is viewed as “equality by right”, Kirchick’s characterization is does not speak. We have constitutional rights, and so do conservative Christians. The question of balancing those rights in particular circumstances is a matter of constitutional interpretation.

    I don’t know how that will turn out.

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    • posted by Jorge on

      Seeking tolerance, of necessity, implies that the majority has the right — a legitimate right — to grant, deny and/or forbid equality. Seeking equal treatment and equal rights under the law as a matter of right under the Constitution (as the birthright of all Americans), on the other hand, denies that the majority has the right to grant, deny and/or forbid equality.

      There is much in that statement I do not like. I suppose I consider the principle to break down because it places the concepts of “power” and “equality” in different places than I would.

      But in a way it’s a lot like what went through my mind today thinking over the row over “sexual preference” vs. “sexual orientation.” I associate “sexual preference” as the language of tolerance–as the language of unsolicited allyship by (quite frankly) semi-homophobes. It’s a “live and let live” response (as in, you do you, it has nothing to do with me), far preferable on the street to the language of violence. I wonder if I am the only person who thinks that? I never liked the expression. It occurs to me that it’s the easiest choice of all to walk away from people at precisely that point of their social development.

      The language of “sexual orientation” makes it a little more obvious among straight men that the gay male eye wants to roam and there’s really nothing that can be done about that as a matter of “birthright”. It forces more of a reckoning with the inevitability of interaction and tension. Each individual’s power, which was previously directed away from each other, might be misunderstood or misused.

      It is enough for me to mention once again that I believe (I forgot which of the two marriage cases it was) was wrongly decided, and unwisely ruled, and it is only by the great efforts made to advance and promote the foul-tasting principles of tolerance and mutual respect that such concepts as the equal dignity of tax write offs didn’t send this country into a gay panic backlash.

      The difference between the two statements was not evident to many who were not lawyers, but the difference was that “marriage equality” implies that equal treatment under the law is a matter of right, not something that can be granted or withheld by majority opinion, while “freedom to marry” does not.

      How interesting. I see the two in completely the reverse terms. I see “marriage equality” as a statement demanding an equal social respect be accorded regardless of what one things, and “freedom to marry” as a statement of what one has regardless of the level of social respect. You know with each passing year I see legal and political decisions based on “implications” to be sillier and sillier.

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